The Earth Shakes at a Command: EARTHQUAKES
اِذَا زُلْزِلَتِ اْلاَرْضُ زِلْزَالَهَا وَاَخْرَجَتِ اْلاَرْضُ اَثْقَالَهَا وَقَالَ اْلاِنْسَانُ مَالَهَا يَوْمَئِذٍ تُحَدِّثُ اَخْباَرَهَا بِاَنَّ رَبَّكَ اَوْحٰى لَهَا .. الخ
In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate
When the earth is shaken to its [utmost] convulsion, * And the earth throws up its burdens [from within], * And man cries [distressed] “What is the matter with it?” * On that Day will it declare its tidings. * For that your Sustainer will have given it inspiration. (Qur’an, 99: 1-5)
This Sura states definitely that in its movements and earthquakes the earth shakes at a command, on receiving revelation and inspiration. And sometimes it trembles.
[Prompted by an inspiration, the answers occurred to me to six or seven minor questions related to the current earthquakes, importantly from the point of view of their meaning. Although on several occasions I intended to write them in detail, permission was not given, so they have been written briefly and in short.]
First Question: More distressing than the material disaster of the present severe earthquake are its immaterial aspects; the fear and despair at further earthquakes is destroying the nightly rest of most of the people in most areas. What is the reason for this terrible torment?
The Answer, again in regard to its Meaning: It has been said that the drunken, licentious songs, some of which were performed by girls, being broadcast rapturously by means of the radio during the tarawih prayers of the month of Ramadan in every corner of this blessed centre of Islam resulted in the torment of this fear.
Second Question: Why aren’t these heavenly blows dealt at the unbelievers in their countries? Why are they visited on the unhappy Muslims?
The Answer: Just as the requital for big mistakes and crimes is postponed and made in big centres, and the requital for small crimes is made quickly in small centres, as a consequence of an important instance of wisdom, the recompense of the greater part of the unbelievers’ crimes is postponed to the Last Judgement, while the punishment for the believers’ faults is in part given in this world.
(Furthermore, in abandoning an abrogated and corrupted religion, people like the Russians do not incur Divine wrath to the extent of those who betray a true and eternal religion which may not be abrogated. Thus, the earth leaves them at present, and displays its anger towards those here.)
Third Question: What is the reason for this disaster, which arises from the wrongdoing of a few individuals, occurring to a degree generally throughout the country?
The Answer: The general disaster results from the wrongdoing of the majority: most people in effect participate in the actions of those tyrannical individuals by supporting them either actively or morally or in some connection.
Fourth Question: Since this disaster of an earthquake results from wrongdoing and is atonement for sins, why are the innocent and those not at fault struck by it? How does Divine justice permit this?
The Answer, again in regard to its meaning: Since this matter concerns the mystery of Divine Determining, we refer you to the Risale-i Nur and here only say this:
وَاتَّقوُا فِتْنَةً لاَ تُصِيبَنَّ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا مِنْكُمْ خَاصَّةً
And fear tumult or oppression, which affects not in particular [only] those of you who do wrong. (Qur’an, 8:25)
That is, beware of the calamity or disaster which when it occurs is not restricted to wrongdoers but strikes the innocent as well.
The meaning of the above verse is as follows: this world is a field of trial and examination, and a place of striving where man is accountable for his actions. Accountability and examination require that reality remains veiled so that through competition and striving the Abu Bakr’s may rise to the highest of the high and the Abu Jahl’s may enter among the lowest of the low. If the innocent remained untouched by such disasters, the Abu Jahl’s would submit just like the Abu Bakr’s, and the door of spiritual and moral progress through striving would be closed and the mystery of accountability spoiled.
Since Divine wisdom requires that oppressed and oppressor are together afflicted by disaster, what then is the share of the wretched oppressed of Divine mercy and justice?
It was said in reply to this question: for them there is a manifestation of mercy within the wrath and anger in the disaster. For just as the transient property of the innocent becomes like alms and gains permanence, the relatively little and temporary difficulty and torment is a form of martyrdom for them which also gains for their transient lives a permanent life. The earthquake earns for them a huge, perpetual profit, so for them is an instance of Divine mercy within the wrath.
The Addendum to the Fourteenth Word, Risale-i Nur Collection
Bediuzzaman Said Nursi